Sometimes making a change is as easy as saying “no”. Last week I received this email from one of our suppliers:
Please find attached the July 2011 Invoices. A hard copy will be arriving in the mail shortly.
My usual process when I get an invoice via email is to forward the PDF to my finance team and they take care of it. And with the number of emails I get every day, it’s easy to just gloss over what’s written in the email and just follow my standard process. But when I read that they were also sending a hard copy in the mail, I had to stop and ask myself “why?” I don’t need a hard copy sent to me, since it’s WAY easier for me to email the PDF to my finance team rather than walk 4 floors down to give it to them in person. Also, I’ve already been given a copy of it, so if I really needed a hard copy, I could just print it out myself.
So I emailed back my supplier and told her that we don’t require hard copies of any of our invoices, and asked if she could make a note in our file to not have hard copies automatically sent out. She replied “No problem”.
I wonder how many organizations are just in the habit of sending out hard copies of invoices? How much are they un-neccesarily spending on print, labour and mail costs? How many of their customers really require them?
Also, how many people routinely get paper invoices that they don’t need and would rather recieve in PDF form? Do you take the time to tell your supplier and request a change? It took me just seconds to send the email to request it and will save 12 sheets of paper, 12 envelopes and 12 stamps a year. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but multiply that by all of you reading this post and there could be some serious savings.
Going green is about making a lot of these little changes in life. Many of them take seconds and are quite painless. So the next time you get a paper invoice that you don’t need, take the time to say “no”.